The Lone Ranger does not live in the Philippines but I have discovered that the PNP, Philippine National Police, does an excellent job in our area to ensure that expats living here are well taken care of. In my previous article, “Scared To Go Outside,” I touched briefly on the safety and security of expats living in the Philippines. Whenever there is a crime reported in the Philippines, which involved an expat, other expats and the PNP take notice. This is taken seriously on both sides.
Many Americans, who have lived in a culture where gun ownership is common for those who meet the legal requirements, they will soon learn that gun ownership is not legally possible in the Philippines for anyone who is not a Philippine citizen. Many expats are married to a Philippine citizen and they can legally be a firearm owner, if they meet the requirements.
A new gun control law was signed on May 29, 2013 in the Philippines and this law has stricter requirements for Philippine citizens who desire to become a firearm owner. There is no gun ban here in the Philippines except during election periods and it is not 100% since an exemption can be approved if the need exists to be armed for self protection.
The Burning Questions
“Is the Philippines safe?” “How do I protect myself if I cannot own a gun?” “Am I an open target?” These are a few burning questions and a number of other similar questions relating to expat safety and security in the Philippines. I often tell expats that one of the most important aspects of retiring to and living in the Philippines is the location they decide to live. There are high crime areas here, just as in any other country in the world. There are far more safer areas where you can live in the Philippines with greatly lowering the odds of your becoming a crime victim.
Concerning overall safety and security in the Philippines, unless you live in certain areas of Mindanao, Manila or Cebu, you will have less chance of becoming a crime victim in the Philippines than if you lived in many of the large cities in the USA. I am an American and I worked in law enforcement for a number of years, so I speak of my personal experience. For what it is worth, I have been a violent crime victim in the USA on two occasions during my lifetime but I have never been a violent crime victim in the Philippines over the past 27 years.
When in the Philippines, do as the Filipinos do! Whatever security measures your neighbors feel are necessary for them, take heed because you will also need the same in place. The local people know the terrain very well and you can follow their lead.
Having an excellent relationship and great rapport with your neighbors is very important, as they are most likely willing to help you. We have found this to be so true where we live in the Philippines.
Get to know your local police officers in the PNP headquarters that is in your particular area. Let them know where you live. If you live in an area which allows dogs, by all means get one! They are not only a great friend but they offer protection in their own special way.
If your citizen wife or partner decides to buy a firearm, please make sure she is properly trained in how to safely and accurately use it. The gun shops in our area offer this training.
Keep a low profile! You would not flash large amounts of money in public where you live and you should not do it in the Philippines, either. It is best not to wear expensive jewelry when going out to many places. This is common sense most everywhere in the world. The type of people you associate with is a biggie! Most Filipinos are very friendly and peace loving people but there are others who will take what is not theirs, even forcibly. Many expats enjoy the bar scene and this can be a fun activity but it can also be dangerous, so be aware. Bars and night clubs in hotels are usually the safer venue. Seedy bars and lounges in your own hometown are not the safest place to hang out and the Philippines is no different.
Common sense, being aware of your surroundings at all times and fully realizing the times in which we live today all come into play in making your Philippine experience a safe and enjoyable one year round.
Crime does not pray, so be aware of the blatant unhallowed ground.